Porsche, the sports car giant we all know and love, has some very surprising beginnings. In 1931, a 55 year old automotive engineer by the name of Ferdinand Porsche founded a small automotive design shop with his son-in-law and a young businessman. “Dr. Ing. h. c. F. Porsche GmbH”, as it was known back then, was soon contracted by the German government to create a compact, economic “people’s car”, translated from the German “Volkswagen”. Thus, the famous beetle was born. That is right- the first Porsche was a Volkswagen, and the first Volkswagen was a Porsche. After WWII, Porsche was imprisoned, and the challenge of the survival of the company fell on his son’s shoulders. Ferry Porsche struggled to bring together a model to market. The “356”, considered the first true Porsche, entered production in 1948, being constructed, in a large proportion, from modified Beetle parts. The car was nevertheless a success, selling 76,000 units.
By 1964, the “356” desperately needed a replacement, and what better car to serve that purpose than the brand new “911”. This legendary model’s success was unparalleled. The car went through 8 revisions from 1964 through today, while still retaining the original formula of a two door, rear-engine sports car. The 911 is Porsche’s oldest surviving model, bringing in the highest proportion of sales until the introduction of the Cayenne in 2002. Porsche’s lineup diversification came very late, with the first successful formula change being brought by the Boxster, a light roadster, in 1996. The next step for Porsche was a large departure from their comfort zone, the Cayenne. This mid-size 4×4 was Porsche’s first venture into SUVs. Despite receiving plenty initial skepticism, the Cayenne soon outclassed its rivals in performance and now represents a quarter of Porsche’s yearly production. In 2009, Porsche broke through the luxury car market with the introduction of the Panamera, a sedan-hatchback hybrid that andreoutsmarted all competitors. Building on the success of the Cayenne, Porsche downsized the SUV, and introduced the Macan in 2010, a sports crossover that competes with the Audi Q5, BMW X3 and the Mercedes GLC.
Towering on its platform of a strong lineup and perpetual success, Porsche heavily invested in research and development. The result of this investment is the 2019 Taycan. This is Porsche’s first all-electric vehicle, a sleek shooting brake-sedan that is propelled by a 400HP electric motor. Through innovative thinking and calculated risk-taking, Porsche grew to be one of the most respected automakers today because of the unmatched reliability, comfort, luxury, and performance of their cars.
A household name without a doubt, Porsche represents more than just a successful car manufacturer. It is a symbol of culture, a name that resounds greatness and success all around the world. The following is Porsche’s six key locations:
- Zuffenhausen – Heart & Home
- Weissach – R&D
- Leipzig – Main Factory
- Sachsenheim – Warehouse
- Bietigheim-Bissingen – Finance & Consulting
Staying true to their heritage, these six remain in Germany to this day and more than 650 international dealers help bring the passion of Porsche to the streets of the world. Currently, the Porsche family continues to expand its workforce, with approx. 36,000 employees working under the badge of the brand, representing a growth of around 150% over the last decade. While Porsche’s status as a cultural beacon of automotive greatness cannot be questioned, it is very important to analyze their financial and economic performance. The company is currently undergoing their “Strategy 2025” plan which aims to achieve value-generating sustainable growth.
While the automotive industry was one of the most-affected by the global pandemic developing throughout the 2020 financial year, Porsche AG managed to stay on target in their strategic corridor, delivering very strong performances across the board. A new revenue record was achieved in the 2020 financial year, with the record totaling 28.7 billion euros, over 100 million euros more than the year prior. Porsche managed to close an operating result of 4.2 billion euros for the year, with an impressive 14.6% return on sales. Despite a halt in production due to the Coronavirus pandemic, the company barely missed out on matching their already impressive pre-pandemic 2019 financial performance. They also managed to deliver 272,162 new vehicles worldwide, just 3% shy of their 2019 performance.
In its first full year on the market, the Taycan managed to impress greatly as well: “More than 20,000 units were delivered of the Taycan, the first all-electric Porsche sports car. This makes it the most successful electric sports car in its class. More than 50 international awards attest to this.” Among other things, the Taycan was named the “world’s most innovative car”. Porsche stands for a “robust core business, sustainable action, social responsibility and innovative technology”, says Oliver Blume, Chairman of the Executive Board of Porsche AG. By these few indicators it is safe to say that Porsche is not only at the top of the automotive industry in terms of engineering and performance, but also a powerhouse with robust and clear strategic objectives that ensure strong and steady economic and financial performance year in and year out.
In the present day, technology and innovation play a crucial role in the success of any company, especially those of car manufacturers. That is why Porsche embraces software as one of the core competencies of the company and constantly develops in this field. To be ahead of its competitors, Porsche recently launched a new open-source initiative which makes source code available to anyone. Moreover, Porsche publishes their code on the GitHub-platform with more than 50 million users who can freely modify it. Publishing such sensitive information may sound absurd, but the aim of such an initiative is simple — they seek cooperation in software development and the exchange of expertise, both of which are essential components of brand prosperity. Manufacturing companies cannot remain competitive without strong software competences and digital transformation of their business.
Driven by enhancements of user experience, Porsche also participates in an “Al Delta Learning” project, which is aimed at teaching autonomous vehicles the specifics of local road regulations with less effort. Since autopilot cars are becoming more and more popular, the necessity of having advanced artificial intelligence becomes clear, however, no manufacturer can do this alone and the cooperation of strong players is required. Internally, Porsche makes a variety of steps to become a “software-enabled and data-driven automotive tech player”. Mission D, a part of the Porsche Strategy 2025 underlines the company’s commitment in the field of technology. Within the framework of being a data-driven company, Porsche designed 3 core blocks: Data strategy & Culture, Data Trust & Data Management and Technology & IT Architecture. Paying such attention to technological advancements helps Porsche remain a leader in the sector and sets guidelines for the future of the industry.